By my recollection, this is the fourth time that I will be blogging about sexual harassment. It has never been a topic of particular interest to me but it is like a recurring decimal in today’s world. Regionally we had one of our star athletes chastised for hitting on a reporter while she was doing a live interview on TV, we have had US officials and celebrities in very high places accused of various acts of sexual assault and of course we have had the response in the so called “Me Too” movement. Sexual harassment has always been a he said-she said matter and since it generally takes place outside of the eyes of others, it has been difficult for others to make a judgment about what happened. Because of this difficulty, the awkwardness that surrounds sexual issues and often the organizational and national culture, we have often swept the issue under the carpet.
The problem is that there is now wo much dust under the carpet that it can no longer be kept hidden. Firms that do not address issues of sexual harassment may end up paying a high price with their internal and external customers. For those leaders who want to be like the three monkeys – see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil, I want to detail some of the costs associated with this willful ignorance.